May 10, 2011

The Monkey Show

Some more photos from the Kameido Tenjin Shrine saru mawashi (monkey show).

Walking on stilts.


Jumping great lengths.

Balancing on a narrow pole, high up.

Mugging for the cameras.

Except for this last bit, the whole routine, while fascinating to watch, can only be considered remarkable if you consider monkeys to be lesser humans. This was precisely the conceit of this show: the banter consisted of the monkey trainer saying, "This guy is so lazy and so dumb, you really have to cajole him to do this trick." (Cue the monkey pulling off the trick perfectly after much reluctance.) But if you look at the monkey as the animal that it is, his feats look less impressive -- he's just doing what a monkey does.

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